This was originally posted on Joystick Republic (RIP)
Coming into 2017 I tried to make a wee list of resolutions that I would likely attempt yet fail miserably with. Two of them were to play more video games, hopefully finish a few more along the way but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, and then write something about those games. That includes going through the mess that is my backlog which both excites me and makes me want to scream at the same time. Lots of junk to sort through and games I probably am unaware I bought along the way. What will I write I hadn’t thought about. A couple weeks into the year and the answer is a resounding “I won’t know until I know”. That means it will depend on the game. Whatever that game made me want to write will be what goes up for Browsing the Backlog. Personally, I expect lots of rambling and incoherent sentences.
With that out of the way I should probably go into great detail and explain the many things that DOOM does so well, since it does a ton of things well. The problem is that isn’t what I want to do here.
Instead, I would like to talk about momentum:
noun, plural momenta
[moh-men-tuh] (Show IPA), momentums.
1.force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events:
The car gained momentum going downhill. Her career lost momentum after two unsuccessful films.
2.Also called linear momentum. Mechanics. a quantity expressing themotion of a body or system, equal to the product of the mass of a bodyand its velocity, and for a system equal to the vector sum of theproducts of mass and velocity of each particle in the system.
3. Philosophy. moment (def 7).
Was that incredibly cliched? Bet your bottom dollar but DOOM is a game that thrives on making cliches work so I’m giving myself a pass. Okay, what about momentum? DOOM’s combat hinges on the player constantly moving, the game even mentions on a loading screen that if you stop you die. So many games try to offer as many playstyles as possible in order to be accessible to the most amount of players possible yet DOOM shouts at the audience, “IF YOU DON’T WANT TO MOVE FAST YOU MIGHT WANT TO LEAVE”. Truly admire a game that takes pride in what it is. The biggest issue with Uncharted 4’s combat was how stealth was always presented as the main objective. Minutes go by as take out one guard at a time just out of view from other enemies. There is something satisfying about timing it right. Then you eventually punch a dude in front of another dude and get yourself into seriously hot water. There was no major penalty. The game wasn’t hard when you got in a gunfight but the combot no longer feels satisfying. Even if both options are equally effective the game felt like one way was right and the other way was for dirty cheats who didn’t want the true Uncharted experience.
DOOM has one way to play and it happens to be incredibly satisfying with the “wrong way” not leaving you dissatisfied but leaving you dead. That’s why you keep moving with the bevy of weapons at your disposal. You can snipe…if you are willing to do so while moving at 100 miles per hour. Deeply satisfying actually so don’t let the idea of that difficulty sway you one way or the other. Or you could take your shotgun (or SUPA SHOTGUN) and light up the hordes of demons from the inside.
It is that bit that gets me. The game expects you to keep your momentum yet it knows you will get it, enemies will corner you or a laser will come out of nowhere to take a chunk of life off you at a time. In those instances you need to commit to Glory Kills which are melee attacks that trigger a quick animation which takes you out of control for a second. You need to do enough damage to even trigger these moves with the reward being that necessary health. There will always be slight break in or momentum during these which makes it a risk versus reward situation. Especially when enemies start clumping together. Do you stay on the outside and try to take them all out at once knowing that one hit takes you out? Or do you stun them so you can string together some Glory Kills hoping that you can get to them all in time? There’s a whole lot of split second strategy taking place because the momentum is so important to your success so stopping is the one choice that can’t be made
I guess this is the first official Browsing the Backlog and I’ll be honest, I’m yammering about how I died a bunch because I thought I had time to line up my shots. I didn’t. I learned. I got better. I had fun. That’s what I’ll remember about DOOM.